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Will a factory reset clean my Mac?

When your Mac becomes slow, you may ponder over the question of how to clean it up. Neglecting your Mac’s performance issues for a long time can lead to a frustrating experience. In such cases, resetting your Mac to its factory settings seems to be the best solution. However, a common question that most users ask is whether a factory reset will clean their Mac.

In this article, we will explore the details of what happens when you perform a Mac factory reset, and whether it is an effective way to free up space and boost its performance.

What Happens in a Factory Reset?

When you carry out a factory reset on your Mac, all of the data stored on it is deleted, including apps, files, folders, and system preferences. On a Mac, a factory reset is called “formatting a hard drive,” and it basically means wiping out everything on your computer, reinstating it to the default manufacturer’s settings.

Once the factory reset is completed, you will need to reinstall the operating system, any necessary drivers, and other software. It does not matter if it’s MacOS, Windows, or any other operating system; a factory reset will always delete all of your files, settings, and other data.

Does a Factory Reset Completely Remove All My Data?

While a factory reset may seem to delete all your data, it is still possible to retrieve some of your deleted files. However, the level of recovery depends on how you have carried out the reset. There are two types of factory resets: the standard factory reset and the secure erase option.

In a standard factory reset, your Mac is simply formatted, with the data being stored under a new directory. This means it is possible to recover your data using data recovery software.

However, when you select the “secure erase” option, the data on your Mac’s hard drive is truly wiped out, using complex algorithms that are virtually impossible to reverse. Secure erase uses multiple passes of overwriting the data so that it cannot be traced, making data recovery impossible.

Is a Factory Reset Effective at Cleaning a Mac?

A factory reset is a useful way to clean a Mac, but it is not always the most effective one. It does not always guarantee a complete cleaning of your Mac’s hard drive. Though it’ll restore your computer to its out-of-the-box state, it’s not going to do much in terms of addressing performance issues.

You may still experience slow startup, application crashes, or even unresponsiveness after a factory reset. Also, after the reset, any additional data that you store may continue to slow down your computer unless you regularly back up unnecessary data, uninstall unused applications, and frequently delete temporary files.

Alternative Ways of Cleaning Your Mac

If you want to improve your Mac’s performance and speed up your computer, other alternatives can help you clean it up:

1. Uninstall applications that you no longer need or use
2. Clear your web browser’s cache
3. Delete duplicate files using a duplicate file detector
4. Delete temporary files with a cleaning tool like “CleanMyMac 3”
5. Remove unwanted or unused extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins
6. Use an external hard drive to store large files and recover some storage space on your computer.


In conclusion, a factory reset is effective at cleaning a Mac, but only if you choose the secure erase option. Although, as previously mentioned, a factory reset may not always resolve the performance issues that led you to consider resetting the computer in the first place.

Carrying out a factory reset is too drastic a measure unless you’ve reached the point of no return. It is also not guaranteed to increase the performance of your computer, and it is not a substitute for performing routine maintenance work on your Mac.

If you’re looking for other ways to clean up your Mac, alternatives like uninstalling unwanted applications, clearing cache and temporary files, and using a duplicate file detector are less damaging and often more effective.


Does erasing Mac erase everything?

When it comes to erasing a Mac, there are a few different ways to go about it, and the level of erasure will vary depending on the method used. If you’re looking to completely wipe your Mac clean, then erasing it will indeed remove everything from the computer. This means all of your personal files, photos, documents, applications, and any other data on your Mac will be deleted.

It’s important to note that erasing a Mac is a permanent process, so it’s crucial to back up any important files before proceeding with the erasure. Once the process is complete, there’s no way to recover the data that was erased.

There are a few different methods you can use to erase a Mac. The first method is through the built-in Disk Utility app, which allows you to erase the entire hard drive and reinstall macOS. This process will wipe everything from your Mac, including the operating system, and start fresh with a clean version of macOS.

Another option is to use a third-party app, such as CCleaner, which provides more granular control over the erasure process. With CCleaner, you can choose to erase specific files and folders or wipe the entire hard drive, ensuring that no data is left behind.

Erasing a Mac will indeed remove everything from the computer, including files, applications, and the operating system. It’s important to back up any important data before proceeding with the erasure, as it’s a permanent process with no way to recover the data once it’s been erased.

How do I reset my Mac but keep everything?

If you want to reset your Mac to its factory settings without losing any personal files or settings, you can use the macOS Recovery feature. This built-in recovery system on Mac allows you to reinstall macOS while keeping your files and user settings intact.

Before you begin, it’s highly recommended that you backup your data to an external drive or cloud storage to ensure that you don’t lose any important files. Once you’ve backed up your data and you’re ready to proceed with the reset, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to reset your Mac but keep everything:

1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Turn on your Mac and immediately hold down the “Command” and “R” keys until the Apple logo appears.
3. Wait until your Mac starts up the macOS Utilities screen.
4. Click “Disk Utility” and then click “Continue.”
5. Select your Mac’s primary disk from the list of available disks on the left-hand side of the window.
6. Click the “Erase” button and choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” as the format.
7. Type a new name for the disk and then click “Erase.”
8. Once the erasure process is complete, quit Disk Utility.
9. From the macOS Utilities screen, click “Reinstall macOS” and then click “Continue.”
10. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the macOS operating system.

Keep in mind that the reinstallation process may take some time, depending on the speed of your Mac and the version of macOS you’re installing. Once the installation is complete, your Mac will restart and prompt you to set up your user account, just like it did when you first purchased your Mac.

During this set-up process, you can choose to migrate your data from your backup or start fresh with a new account. If you choose to migrate your data, all of your personal files and documents will be restored to your Mac along with your user settings, keeping everything intact.

Resetting your Mac while keeping your personal files and settings intact is possible using the built-in macOS Recovery feature. Just be sure to back up your data before beginning the process and follow the step-by-step instructions carefully to ensure a successful reset.

Should I factory reset my laptop Mac?

While some people may swear by regularly resetting their laptop Mac to factory settings, it may not always be necessary. In fact, Apple suggests that performing a factory reset should only be a last resort if you have tried other troubleshooting steps and have not been able to resolve any issues your laptop Mac may be experiencing.

One reason why someone might consider a factory reset for their laptop Mac is if it has become sluggish or experienced crashes. However, it’s important to analyze the root cause of these problems. One common culprit could be running out of disk space, which can slow down your computer’s performance. In this case, you could try deleting unnecessary files (especially larger ones like videos or games) or transferring them to an external hard drive or cloud service like iCloud.

Another reason why someone might consider resetting their laptop Mac is if they are experiencing compatibility issues with third-party software. However, before performing a reset, you can try updating the software to its latest version or uninstalling and reinstalling the software altogether.

It’s also worth noting that resetting your laptop Mac to factory settings can result in the loss of all data, including files, apps, and settings. So, if you do decide to go through with a reset, it’s important to back up any important data first. This can be done through Time Machine, iCloud, or an external hard drive.

While some may advocate for regularly resetting your laptop Mac to factory settings, it may not always be necessary or the best course of action. Instead, troubleshooting minor issues like disk space or updating software can go a long way in improving the computer’s performance. However, if you do decide to reset, make sure to backup all important data beforehand to prevent any irreversible data loss.